Netflix’s Tekken anime hits all the right notes, and it’s coming soon

The Thousand Sons, Space Marines in Egyptian-themed armor, stand side by side in a screenshot from Space Marine 2

Netflix has pinned a release date on its anime adaptation of Namco’s famous fighting game series: Tekken: Bloodline will premiere on August 18.

A new trailer picks up where the initial teaser left off, showing protagonist Jin Kazama training with his ruthless grandfather, Heihachi Mishima, and entering the King of Iron Fist Tournament in the hope of avenging his mother Jun Kazama’s death at the hands of the mighty Ogre.

In addition to previously seen characters Paul, King, and Kazuya, the trailer introduces us to some other Iron Fist entrants: Leroy Smith, Julia Chang, the assassin Nina Williams, Ling Xiaoyu, and Jin’s rival Hwoarang (looking fresh-faced in a very old-school outfit).

Over the montage of footage, Heihachi offers some ominous narration: “Kazama. Think of your helplessness when Ogre killed your mother. In order to defeat him, you must purge the Kazama pacifism and stoke your Mishima fire. I’m going to tear you down completely, then I will build you back up. Your body will be a weapon. Mishima style is the only way.”

The storyline appears to lean heavily on the events of 1997’s Tekken 3, if not to follow it exactly. (Leroy, for one, doesn’t appear in the games until much later.) It’s a smart choice: Jin is a classic tragic hero, haunted by his saintly mother and his evil father Kazuya, with strong motivations that could easily be corrupted by the iconic villain Heihachi. As a framework for what will doubtlessly be endless fight scenes, it’s about as solid as you can get.

In a recent bit of promo for the anime, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada boasted that the games have had the “longest-running storyline” in the entire video game medium. There’s plenty here for Netflix to work with, in other words — and so far, the creative team behind the show (who remain unnamed) appear to be making all the right choices.

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